Greenbuddies NewsUpdates from the world of renewable energy

Greenbuddies Tips – April 2022 29.04.2022

Greenbuddies participate in the electrification of the service fleet in the banking sector

In March 2022, the Greenbuddies Charging team started working with ChargeUp Services CZ, which is the general charging infrastructure provider. This partnership was formed to electrify the service fleet of Komerční banka (KB) – a Czech member of the Société Général banking group as well as a leading banking institution in the Czech Republic.

At the beginning of 2022, KB, a.s. announced its strategic intent to have a quarter of its fleet of company cars fully electrified by the end of the year. Moreover, to have approved massive investments in the purchase of electric vehicles. Along with this, they expect to equip their branches and other facilities with a network of charging infrastructure to offer to their employees and clients. This investment is part of the extensive plan to become completely carbon neutral by 2026.

Detail of charging stations in Libohost

KB’s charging stations will be a combination of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) charging stations. The AC charging stations supply power via the onboard rectifier of the electric car to its battery. They use a standard mains voltage of 50 Hz, which is converted in the rectifier into a suitable DC charging current for the electric vehicle battery. The size of the onboard rectifiers is determined by the limited space requirements and the possibility of cooling the waste heat that is generated during the charging process directly on board the car. Practically speaking, this limits the maximum charging power of AC charging stations. Moreover, charging stations are available with various power outputs, the most powerful ones being those that reach peak charging outputs of 22 kW. Subsequently, it was the installation of these peak stations with the highest available charging power that Greenbuddies Charging carried out in March 2022 at two KB, Inc. facilities. Specifically, these are the KB branch at Václavské Náměstí 42 and the KB training centre in Libohošt’. The installation technology was directly supplied by the partner company ChargeUp Services, CZ from the manufacturer Circontrol.

Furthermore, alternating charging stations are the most commonly used type of charging infrastructure. However, it can take several hours to fully charge an electric vehicle via an AC charging station. Hence, KB, a.s. wants to offer its clients and employees maximum comfort in the form of fast recharging of the electric car battery. This entails that the battery can be recharged in a period of a few minutes to an hour via DC charging stations. This charging technology, which is available at some petrol stations on motorways, uses rectified energy to charge the electric car battery. This energy is then fed directly to the battery terminals via the electric car’s charging control circuitry.

Detail Circontrol wallbox, Source: elektrickevozy.cz                                                                                                                                                                                                                    EV Charging stations in Libohošť

The DC station rack provides all technical solutions for energy rectification, loss cooling, and other complex issues. The latter results in a complex device that is usually difficult to notice at charging points. Our Greenbuddies Charging team has a wealth of experience in the installation, maintenance, and preventive servicing of DC charging stations. This includes and is actualised through regular long-term cooperation with DC charging station manufacturer Tritium. The latter is one of the exclusive suppliers of Ionity’s pan-European charging network technology.

A total of 24 Circontrol eNext Park T 22k W AC charging stations were installed at the two KB, a.s. locations. During the first stage of construction, preparations were made for the installation of two Circontrol Raption 50 kW DC stations. These will be added in the second phase of construction. We are very pleased to be part of this major innovative project primarily aimed at reducing emissions and striving for carbon neutrality in automotive traffic.

Sources:
https://www.business-car.cz/neprehlednete/komercni-banka-elektrifikuje-svou-flotilu-zaroven-poridi-uctyhodnych-140-dobijecich-stanic
https://oenergetice.cz/elektromobilita/komercni-banka-zprovoznila-u-svych-objektu-89-dobijecich-stanic-pro-elektroauta
https://cc.cz/komercka-elektrifikuje-flotilu-131-enyaqy-jeji-vlastnik-nakupem-leaseplanu-upevnuje-pozici-v-operativnim-leasingu/

Ikaros Solar – new Greenbuddies customer

In this newsletter, we would like to announce the good cooperation with a new and promising customer: Ikaros Solar.

With this Pan-European EPC giant, we started to discuss the installation activities of a 3 MWp ground-mounted solar park in a weird location in the Netherlands some months ago. As Greenbuddies we like weird locations as we are proud to be named ‘the Unstoppables’.

The location itself (South of Rotterdam) is between a few highways and the HSL (train to Paris) and is partly flat and partly sloped and has a quite soft underground structure. Nothing is standard here. The pictures show some of the works.

In the sales department, we recognize that the cooperation is moving forward positively as the number of RfQs from Ikaros is increasing rapidly.
We trust we can report much more on this promising customer in the near future.

  Detail of the terraine                                                                                                                                                                                 Site of the future PV plant near Rotterdam, NL

Solar projects and subsidy calls in the Czech Republic

The solar energy sector in the Czech Republic has seen dynamic development in recent months.

Greenbuddies Consulting offers its customers in the Czech Republic a complete portfolio of services in the preparatory and design phase – from the framework design of the PV plant to the processing of the connection application as well as the project documentation for the building permit. Moreover, an important part of the services is the processing of the application for the relevant subsidy and the provision of the necessary formalities. The construction of the approved projects is subsequently handled by Greenbuddies or Greenbuddies Charging.

An NPO subsidy request for a rooftop PV up to 1 MW is currently underway, and other calls for rooftop PV, support for electromobility and charging stations are expected to be announced. The expected RES+ subsidy will be dedicated to large solar projects. Looking at the bigger picture, the support that these subsidies will offer ranges from 35% to 50% of the relevant costs.

Ilustrative picture, Source: Unsplash

HDSolar cooperation with Greenbuddies continues

In the Solar Roofing sector, we focus primarily on C&I roofs from roughly 1000 panels and more, where we have shown and proved our competitiveness.

One of the successful instances we would like to highlight in this newsletter is the cooperation with HDSolar. Last year, we installed a roof consisting of 0.5 MWp in Helmond for HDSolar. Furthermore, concerning the same company, a 1.1 MWp roof was installed in Valkenswaard (See picture). We are also pleased to mention that this month as well as next month, two more roofs of 0.5 MWp will be placed in Eindhoven and Panningen.

Concerning the roof installation in Valkenswaard, it was our first time working with a team originating from Ukraine. We would like to mention this because the cooperation we experienced with them was very pleasant and insightful. Furthermore, due to the devastating situation in that region, we are doing our best to make sure that these team members and their families are doing all right to the point that is possible for them.

Greenbuddies building a rooftop PV plant in Valkenswaard

The implementation of these installations was primarily without issues, but we noticed the reoccurring issue that each customer has a different idea of how to solve the issues with induction loops. Therefore, it is always necessary to not only clarify goals and desired results at the beginning of the project but also to test out and provide an example in a small form. This is to have the accuracy of the implementation confirmed and thus avoid the need to unnecessarily rework the already-completed parts of the PV plant due to client dissatisfaction.

In reflection, this was a good example of positive teamwork where pro-active communication with our clients is shown to be of great importance.

Market Footprint 1Q 2022 20.04.2022

Greetings,

We hope all is well with you and your business!

We would like to share some news with you. 

We will be attenting Intersolar Europe this year and we would like to invite you to our Greenbuddies stand A5.258. The trade fair takes place in May 11–13, 2022 at the Messe München. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Today, we are happy to say we have already completed over 500 MWp in the past 5 years and are still growing day by day. You can check out the details in our quarterly Market footprint.

If you have any projects where we can be of any help, don’t hesitate to send us an RFQ of your projects. We would be pleased to prepare an offer for you and we are looking forward to continuing our cooperation!

Best Regards,

Greenbuddies Tips – March 2022 24.03.2022

Greenbuddies project in the Netherlands

Concrete roofs in Gozo have transformed into solar energy plants thanks to our Greenbuddies team

Our team oversaw the DC installation on the Maltese island of Gozo for our client “MyEnergy”. The project spanned over two roofs with different levels, with a capacity of 700 kWp. We have installed a total of 1578 modules and 6 inverters in two weeks, despite the number of days with strong winds, which are typical for this area.

Malta is a perfect country for producing energy from the sun, but as on every island, there are location obstacles to overcome. In light of Photovoltaic Installations aspiring to meet the country’s quota for carbon neutrality, most of these installations are placed on roofs.

Detail of Gozo roof project

This project was spread over two roofs, one of which lies on top of a water reservoir. Both these surfaces were flat, and this enabled a special type of concrete mounting system to be utilized. The support structures made by the Italian company “Sunballast” have a 10° inclination and do not require the fixing of the ballast onto the roof, saving a lot of time during the entire installation process. Moreover, these substructures have a high wind resistance which allows for a more resilient structure considering the nature of high winds in Malta.

This was our second project in Malta, and we believe that there are a lot of opportunities for building more PV installations there. One of the main reasons being that the Maltese government has issued projects of support for installations with a total investment of over 26 million Euro in the span of the coming 20 years. The country has a current aim to obtain 11.5% of its energy from renewable sources, but it strives to surpass this number.

We are proud that our Greenbuddies team has helped in adding another renewable source of energy to Malta.

Details of Gozo DC installation project

Global electric vehicle sales up 109% in 2021

Despite adverse market conditions, analytical research on the global electric vehicle market estimate that 6.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) were sold worldwide in 2021. This results in a sales increase of 109% in comparison to 2020. This EV count includes both fully electric and plug-in hybrid passenger cars. However, the total global car market rose by merely 4% in 2021. This is due to the continued struggle of coping with COVID-19 restrictions in relation to chip shortages. Moreover, EV sales represented 9% of all passenger car sales in 2021.

The demand for EVs remained prominent in 2021, but it can be argued that many more would have been sold had it not been for the component shortages still affecting every car manufacturer globally.

Illustrative photo, source: Unsplash

The following points provide an indication of global sales numbers:

  • 85% of EVs sold globally were delivered to customers in Mainland China and Europe.
  • 3.2 million EVs were sold in 2021 in Mainland China, accounting for 15% of all new cars sold.
  • 2.3 million EVs were sold in Europe, accounting for 19% of new cars.
  • In comparison, while demand has been growing, just 4% of new cars sold in the US in 2021 were EVs, some 535,000 units.

Graph of EV registrations 2020-2021, Source: Smarter E Europe

While purchase prices for most EV models are currently still higher than comparable combustion engine cars, electric cars are expected to reach parity with conventional models in the mid-2020s. However, the total costs of ownership (TCO) are more important to consumers and is already lower for some EVs. All this while considering how much it costs to fuel, maintain, and insure the car. The following graph shows the number of registered e-vehicles in European countries.

Additionally, strategically designed taxation is key to making electric cars more affordable. For instance, France, Italy, and Sweden have implemented the bonus-malus tax system that rewards vehicles that emit relatively low amounts of CO2 (up to 60 grams per km) with a financial bonus. The system also burdens vehicles that have high CO2 emissions with a higher tax.

Canalys, a leading global technology market analyst company, has reported that over 3.2 million EVs were sold in Mainland China in 2021 which is half of all the electric cars sold worldwide. Moreover, this is an increase of 2 million sales in the country in 2020. Various new car models are being launched every month within each important market segment, from tiny, inexpensive city cars to mainstream and premium sedans and SUVs. Additionally, 15% of new cars sold in 2021 in Mainland China were EVs, which more than double the percentage when comparing it to 2020, and there is still a large opportunity for future growth in 2022 and the years to come.   

Europe still boasts the highest level of EV adoption

Traditional car makers are increasingly electrifying their products in Europe. EVs represented 19% of total car sales in 2021 with 2.3 million vehicles delivered. The Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling electric car in Europe in 2021, but Volkswagen Group was the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles, with several models from Audi, Skoda and VW also having high sales numbers.

Sales of EVs in the US continue fall behind in comparison to sales in Mainland China and Europe. Merely 4% of new cars sold in the US in 2021 were EVs. In the US, several new EVs were launched in 2021 and sales momentum and consumer interest are increasing, however Tesla continues to dominate EV sales in the US with an estimated share of just under 60%.

Graph of the top electric car manufacturers in 2021, Source: Canalys

Agrivoltaics – a possibility for dual use of agricultural land

Agrivoltaics is now a term frequently mentioned in the media all over Europe. The principle of agrivoltaics is to use an area of agricultural land for farming activities together with an installed photovoltaic plant, without limiting agricultural production or having a negative impact on agricultural production. The aim is therefore to increase the usability of the area.

An installed PV plant on agricultural land has many potential benefits:

  • Additional income for the farmer
  • Protects crops from hail, frost, wind, excessive drying, torrential rain
  • A study by Clarkson and Wood proves that biodiversity levels are often higher on PV sites than on equivalent agricultural land. [1]

Installation of east-west photovoltaic panels on agricultural land, Source                                                                                                                                     Installation of photovoltaic panels over agricultural land, Source

There are essentially two options for PV installations. The first option is vertical panels with an East/West orientation and the second option is panels placed at a minimum height of 2,1 m (see photo above). The installation of East-West PV panels has the advantage of producing the most electricity in the morning and in the early evening when peak electricity demand occurs. The plant produces more electricity during the year when comparing to a PV plant facing to the South. Additionally, the production better matches the daily electricity consumption profile. In hot and dry summers, the panels also prevent water evaporation from the soil. The spacing between the panels must be large enough to prevent them from shading each other and to allow further soil and crop cultivation. With sufficient spacing, PV is not in any way a limiting factor to the crops.

The second installation option is where the panels are located on suspended structures and spaced in order to allow for sufficient light to pass through. This is known as ‘solar sharing’. The panels serve as a shading mechanism that is optimised for the crops. The installation can be tilted, so the PV can be adapted to the immediate conditions. In times of heat or drought, the PV provides shade and protects the plants from direct sunlight, reducing water consumption in addition to protecting the crops from hail. In freezing weather, PV creates a roof that allows the ground temperature to remain up to 3° higher than on fields without PV [2][3]

The energy that is produced can either be connected to the distribution grid or the source is used to supply electricity for:

  • farms
  • biogas plants (increases overall production efficiency)
  • irrigation
  • charging agricultural machinery
  • charging of electric vehicles (possibility to take power from the field to the road)

Across Europe, these new installations are expanding, and there are already known working installations in France and Germany. In Japan, the suspended PV systems have been tested for 19 years.

Energy consumtion model, Source

In the Czech Republic, it is currently not possible to use agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, but changes to the Building Act are also being discussed which should speed up and allow for the relevant processes. These changes are expected to realise the way to agrivoltaics. However, changing this law alone is not enough; not only would other regulations need to be changed, but especially the approach to the mixed use of agricultural land with energy production would need nudging.

[1] Clarkson&Woods. The Effects of Solar Farm on Local Biodiversity: A Comparative Study. [Online] In: http://www.clarksonwoods.co.uk/projects/projects_solarresearch.html
[2] Mgr. Jiří Zilvar. Pole stíněné fotovoltaikou – Agrivoltaika jako odpověď zemědělců na klimatickou změnu. [Online] In: https://oze.tzb-info.cz/fotovoltaika/19302-pole-stinene-fotovoltaikou
[3] Mgr. Jiří Zilvar. Agrivoltaika – řešení pro nová solární pole. [Onlie] In: https://oze.tzb-info.cz/fotovoltaika/19000-agrivoltaika-reseni-pro-nova-solarni-pole

Greenbuddies Tips – February 2022 23.02.2022

Greenbuddies project in Belgium

Greenbuddies take part in PV plant on multiple roofs

Our Greenbuddies team was working over 9 months on a site of a major PV project in Belgium. With a total capacity of 23 MWp on various roof levels, on carports and surface, the investor – a global player in the steel market, ranging from stainless, electrical to specialty steel – will consume at least 97% of all the energy produced directly at their premises.

Our team has built dozens of megawatts on rooftops across Europe, but this time we had to – together with our customer – overcome a whole new set of obstacles. You can judge for yourself.

Workers on Greenbuddies project site

Obstacles the Greenbuddies team had to overcome:

  • Long DC string routes (as the inverters are only located in two nests on the ground next to the substations) – the longest single string route is 400 m

  • The PV panels are located on the roofs of variously tall production halls (building heights between 15 m and 35 m)

  • Planning required early preparation and daily coordination between the manufacturing company – EPC – the installation partner (our responsible construction manager), as the hall had to be closed for short periods of time while the material was being lifted onto the roof by crane

  • The cables were even routed over two cable trays connecting the production halls – the work was carried out from forklift platforms

  • Due to the nature of the production area, a variety of machines were used, ranging from a rotating telescopic handler, to car cranes and all-terrain platforms

  • The safety of the work was at a very high level. Often the roofs had to be worked in harnesses for safety reasons

  • The work took place over a period of almost 9 months (May 2021 to January 2022) as the roof cladding was being refurbished at the same time

Diagram of roof PV plants

The PV installation in the province of Limburg has a total capacity of 23 MWp with a yearly energy production of 20.3 GWh. This will result in 7300 ton of avoided CO² emissions, which is equal to the emissions of 5900 average households.  For this project the investor has received financial support (green certificates) from the Flemish government.

Thanks to this successful completion, we were awarded a very similar project in Italy at a truck manufacturer’s factory.

Floating PV – a renewable option for otherwise unused water masses

Alongside ground-mounted and rooftop PV systems, floating solar systems are the third and newest pillar of the global solar PV market. In 2020, there were already around 350 operational systems in 35 countries with a cumulative capacity of approximately 2.6 GW. By 2025, it is estimated that there will be around 10 GW of such systems worldwide. The largest systems are being built in Asia, and this year a 320 MW floating PV park was commissioned in China, roughly ten times the size of the largest PV array in the country to date.

Europe is still lagging, although there are countries closer to harnessing water for photovoltaics, such as the Netherlands. Here there are several systems with a total of 10 MW and very recently 2 new solar parks have been completed, one with the size of almost 30 MW and one over 40 MW in Sellingen.

Illustrative photo, source: keyscience.org

Germany includes floating photovoltaics among its priorities for innovation support – so-called innovation tenders for floating solar power plants will also take place in April. In total, the German government will support 50 MW in this round, but in smaller systems of up to 2 MW.

Although photovoltaic systems on water require an investment of around 25% more than systems on land, floating photovoltaics have several undeniable advantages:

  • PV plants do not occupy any land, except for the limited space required for the electrical cabinet and grid connection

  • There are no fixed structures, so their installation and removal after their useful life is easy

  • partial covering of the tanks can reduce evaporation of water.

  • natural cooling from the water surface raises the efficiency of the panels, claimed to be up to 8-10%

  • a floating power plant can be built as a fixed plant or with trackers, so the panels can be rotated to follow the sun, and the purchase of a tracker for floating power plants represents a less substantial increase in price (thanks to a simpler design and construction), while the energy gain can range from 15 to 25%

Floating project in the Netherlands, photo courtesy of Floating Energy

Both freshwater areas and the sea are suitable for photovoltaic systems, but in the Czech Republic they will mostly be built on flooded coal mines. This economy is also moving away from coal, so a number of water bodies have been, are being and will be created, some of which will be used for recreation, but other sites will not relinquish their role as an energy source. To grasp this opportunity, we have teamed up with Floating Energy, a Dutch company with experience in building floating PV systems in its home market, and together we are preparing to work with some major Czech players to develop floating power plants on water bodies on the scale of several tens of megawatts.

Greenbuddies Charging was on hand to help Sonnentherme Lutzmannsburg turn the sun into electricity!

The Sonnentherme Lutzmannsburg is one of Europe’s leading baby and kids spas. With numerous slides, a park-like sunbathing landscape in the outdoor area with dozens of attractions and natural shade, the Relax World and sauna area, however, young people and adults also find their fun at the Sonnentherme.

In order for the Sonnentherme to be able to efficiently use the available parking space for energy generation, it was decided to build a photovoltaic carport system. The facility comprises a total of 454 covered parking spaces, which not only produce green energy, but also provide protection from the sun and precipitation for the vehicles. We are very proud that we have not only built the largest PV carport in Austria, but also one of the largest photovoltaic plants in the country overall.

Overview of Sonnentherme Luzmannsburg – Installation of carports, solar plant and EV chargers 

The challenge for the Greenbuddies Charging team, on behalf of the company E-König from Bad Völslau, was not only building the project, but also organizing and executing the complete project planning, purchasing the required material, along with participating in the negotiations for the building permit and finally, completing the project in several construction phases, all DC electrical work included.

Despite several difficult circumstances, such as the retroactively prescribed ecological drainage system, COVID-19 lockdown in Austria, Suez crisis and the related delays in the supply chain of suppliers, ongoing operation of the Sonnentherme during the holiday season and the need for full parking capacity, we can look back on the project with pride. All the difficulties that are unavoidable in a project of such magnitude and degree of difficulty were solved to the customer’s complete satisfaction and the project was thus completed on schedule before the end of 2021. Thus, we have once again shown that we are the “Unstoppables”!

At this point, we would like to thank all our partners for their cooperation and completion of the project and hope for a fruitful and successful cooperation on future projects.

DATES & FACTS:

  • Construction period: March to October 2021, full operation from December 2021.

  • Rain gutter system designed by Greenbuddies Charging, which looks very elegant and suitable for the carports

  • Futuristic LED lighting system designed by Greenbuddies Charging incl. realisation and installation

  • Realisation of the prescribed feed-in limitation to 50kW: Supplier company Gantner.

  • Coverage: system covers approx. 30% of the electricity demand of the Sonnentherme and the Hotel Sonnenpark 

  • Own consumption: approx. 99% 

  • Total investment: approx. € 2.5 million 

  • This project was co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund

Greenbuddies Tips – January 2022 25.01.2022

Source: Unsplash.com

A shift in the approach to understanding quality

We at Greenbuddies hold several ISO certifications. In 2018, we met the requirements for ISO 9001:2015, which specifies requirements for the quality management system. As of 2021 we have been certified for ISO 45001:2018, a standard focused on occupational health and safety.

ISO 9001 provides a process-oriented approach to documenting and reviewing the structure, responsibilities and procedures needed to achieve effective quality management in an organization. Organizations use this standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

ISO 45001 was first published in 2018 to replace the older OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) 18001:2007 and specifies the requirements for an occupational health and safety management system. Reducing occupational health and safety risks and preventing workplace accidents is one of the most important challenges that businesses face on a day-to-day basis and this standard provides guidance and procedures to help organizations create safe workplaces.

Workers on Greenbuddies project site

“As standards involving product/product/service quality evolve, the perception of companies involved in implementing quality systems is shifting. Quality is no longer just about product quality, but also includes systems relating to workplace safety, the company’s impact on its environment and the overall social responsibility of the company,” says Ing. Tomáš Pokorný, Senior Partner at e-ISO a.s. “The motivation for obtaining a certified system has also changed significantly. When a company operates in multiple international markets, a certified system is then a clear advantage, as many national regulations are based on international ISO standards. An example is the VCA occupational safety certification process in the Netherlands, which essentially incorporates elements of ISO 9001 and ISO 45001. For companies that supply their products to multiple international markets, certification to international standards is then a necessity,” he adds.

In Benelux, it is common practice to assess the safety risks of PV construction both on the roof and in the field using the VCA method. Our project managers and construction managers have been certified as VCA or its German equivalent SGU at the level of Operational Supervisers. The installers can get by with Basic Elements of Safety.

For Greenbuddies, certification is a tool for adjusting internal processes and improving our position in the market, where the company often meets the criteria for winning contracts thanks to these standards. In the future we also plan to obtain the ISO 14001 certification, which is an elegant tool for managing the environmental impact of the company’s activities. Through this, the company demonstrates its commitment to pollution prevention, compliance with legal requirements and continuous improvement of its environmental management system, saving energy and material resources.

What is the future of the European Union on the global battery market?

Battery technologies are one of the pillars of the energy transition. Batteries make it possible to electrify the transportation sector and integrate renewable energy into the energy mix. These two areas of development are at the heart of the European Union’s strategy to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

The global energy storage market is booming. By 2025, stationary battery storage capacities and sales of lithium-ion batteries for automobiles should jump compared to 2020 by 450% to 78 GWh and 390% to 700 GWh respectively. In terms of value, the European market alone could represent 250 billion euros per year from 2025, according to the figures used by the European Commission. In addition to this, the battery is a strategic issue for the automotive industry:          it represents between 30 and 40% of the price of an electric vehicle.

Source: Unsplash

The market remains highly dependent on government support in the automotive and stationary storage sectors. Lowering the cost of storage solutions is the best way to achieve a sustainable growth. This cost reduction depends mainly on innovation and economies of scale. Battery manufacturers are investing heavily in new production capacity and research. Innovation efforts are also important among integrators. Operators are also preparing to deal with growing constraints in terms of environmental impact and integration into a circular economy approach. A constraint that harbors many development opportunities through the reuse of used batteries and recycling.

The electrification of transportation could reverse the balance of power in the global automotive market in favor of China and accelerate European deindustrialization.

Nearly three-quarters of global battery cell production capacity was located in China in 2019. This industrial dominance goes further and extends to the manufacturing of key battery cell components: two-thirds of production of cathode and anode are in China. China has also established itself upstream in the value chain. Batteries are at the heart of a new geopolitics of raw materials. Chinese mining companies have made significant overseas acquisitions to secure their supplies.

The European Union is now facing multiple challenges. The battery production will have to be competitive in order to withstand the Chinese competition. The recyclability of batteries remains a major objective. Finally, there is hope that new chemicals under development could potentially disrupt the global market. The development of a European battery industry is therefore a priority to enable the EU to ensure its energy transition and defend its economic interests.

Account Manager for Benelux

Greenbuddies Energy BV in the Netherlands has celebrated its first year of existence. Within that year, the team has grown significantly, especially in order to serve our partner in development of PV plants, SENS Energy. In addition to this, the contracting market in the Netherlands also needs a lot of attention, so we have decided to add an Account Manager, who would be dedicated to this booming market.

Siem Kompier has joined the team in October and has successfully taken over the agenda from Jos Schlagen, who manages the company in Eindhoven. His target market is not only in Holland, but he is responsible for developing the market in Belgium and Luxembourg. You can read a short Q&A about Siem below:

What has surprised you most about working with Greenbuddies?

What has surprised me most about working with Greenbuddies is the quantity of stakeholders who are involved in the whole process of delivering projects. Excellent communication between all parties is necessary to execute a project successfully. 

Besides that, the amount of confidence and independence that was given to me has been, to my surprise, exceeding my expectations. The working environment can be described as an informal yet result driven – one that is always ready for a beer to kick start the weekend.

What do you find most challenging about your job?

The most challenging thing about my job as an account manager is to communicate the correct message, find the right people, and transform this into a reliable partnership. 

Secondly, as a newcomer in the solar industry, it has proven to be quite difficult to completely understand all the technical and operational elements off the process in a short timeframe.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I consider myself as an active and social individual that has a variety of hobbies. I work out 4 times a week in the gym, and I play soccer 2 times a week. In the summer I like to cruise with my motorcycle to beautiful locations with my friends and I also really really love to travel. And finally, I like to drink beer.

How would (someone) describe you?

My friends and family would describe me as a social person, that is very open, honest, and sincere. Moreover, I am very straightforward, which means that sometimes it would be a better idea to be a little bit more strategical in my word of choice. However, this does not take away my great sense of humor.

Market Footprint 4Q 2021 18.01.2022

Greetings,

We hope all is well in the new year 2022!

We would like to share some news with you. Our extended focus on e-mobility has achieved a considerable milestone. Greenbuddies Charging have handed over a project in Austria, which consisted of solution design and installation of a 1,5 MWp roof PV plant, along with 10 stations of 22 kWp EV chargers.

Today, we are happy to say we have already completed over 500 MWp in the past 4 years and are still growing day by day. You can check out the details in our quarterly Market footprint.

If you have any projects where we can be of any help, don’t hesitate to send us an RFQ of your projects. We would be pleased to prepare an offer for you and we are looking forward to continuing our cooperation!

Best Regards,

Greenbuddies Tips – December 2021 22.12.2021

Source: pexels.com

Greenbuddies Charging – Our focus isn’t only on construction projects…

Despite the height of the season, the approaching end of the year brings an opportunity to pause for a moment and briefly recap the past almost twelve months. For the younger “charging” sister company of our solar business, the year that’s about to end has been very successful, and one could even say a turning point, in the true sense of the word.

The business focus of Greenbuddies Charging is building charging infrastructure to meet the needs of Europe’s rapidly growing electric mobility. This no longer means just building and connecting new infrastructure or repairing existing charging stations for electric vehicles. Our customers’ needs very often include the intent for building carports for their clients’ electric or hybrid cars, connecting a photovoltaic plant as a local source of green energy, installing and configurating battery storage, designing and laying all the cabling, etc., simply delivering a complete solution from A to Z.

Newly finished carport project in Lutzmannsburg

We at Greenbuddies Charging see the promise to provide a complete service for our customers not just as an empty marketing phrase, but as a real commitment for each and every one of us. Increasingly, we are being approached by clients asking us to help them assess the economic and technical feasibility of their investment project based on our experience and best practices. Such requests come from a variety of industries, be it transport engineering, logistics or the waste management segment. I will be honest when I say that this confidence in us is very pleasing to hear. It is proof that our company’s competencies, are no longer limited only to the quality and reliable execution of design, construction, and electrical installation work, as well as they are positively received by the business community. Our “soft” skills are starting to play a bigger part on a larger scale. Helping our clients with consultations in obtaining subsidies, preparing economic return studies, comparative analyses of technical implementation options, as well as quite practical services, such as changes in the land development plan, etc.

In 2021, we have successfully offered our services to clients who are among leaders in their fields on the Czech, European and even the global market. We have completed three successful projects and we have other opportunities to develop in the next few years. In our efforts to expand into this segment, we can rely not only on our own skills and expertise, but also on the extensive experience of our sister entities within the group, Greenbuddies Consulting and Greenbuddies Development. We can also rely on the extensive knowledge of our selected external partners, who are undoubtedly among the best in their field, often in a European context.

Our cooperation with Tritium and Ionity

Thanks to the trust of one of our valued clients, we also had the opportunity to prepare a technical-financial comparison study for a project submitted by a prominent player in the field of renewable energy. Our team recommended a number of technical improvements to the original technical parameters or optimizing the overall cost. To our great pleasure, some of the recommendations were accepted and although Greenbuddies Charging were not the original designer, have left a mark on the way the technical implementation of the said investment will take place in the future.

Finally, on behalf of Greenbuddies Charging and the entire Group, let me wish all our customers, partners and suppliers a successful conclusion to 2021, a peaceful Christmas and New Year’s holiday season if possible, and I look forward to further cooperation.

Ales Damm

Cable Lug Pressing

The topic of pressing cable lugs is an issue that does not seem to require much attention. But reality shows that it is not advisable to underestimate this topic. Using the wrong cable lug can cause a short circuit at the connection point, which will result in the loss of equipment and a power failure of an entire part of the PV plant that the cable transmits.

When cutting off a badly pressed eye, the AC cable will be shortened. This creates a complication when there are already tens of meters of cables in the ground, weighing hundreds of kilograms, that cannot be moved by one, let alone ten centimeters, which would be missing.

Details of correctly pressed cable lugs

For economic reasons, AC power cables are usually made of aluminum, but all the combiner boxes, invertors, transformer stations are equipped with a copper busbars The direct combination of these two materials leads in time to their reaction and disruption of this connection. In worst case, this causes sparking in the joint and short-circuiting. Instead of using cheap aluminum lugs, it is necessary to use a bimetallic mesh, or at least an aluminum bimetal (bathing) pad for the aluminum mesh.

When choosing cable lugs, it is always crucial to read the datasheets carefully and know exactly which cable will be delivered to the construction site. It is not enough to have information only about the cross-section but also about its type, ie whether the cable is “SE”, “SM”, “RM” or “RE”. A different lug size is required for the 240 SE cable than for the 240 SM cable. Unfortunately, it is common practice that seemingly the right siye of lugs arrive at the construction site for a 240mm2 cable, but then they do not fit the 240mm2 cable during the installation.

There is a large number of cable lug manufacturers, such as GPH or Wiekowitz, but by far the most widespread supplier is Klauke. It is necessary to pay attention to the supplier of the lugs, as not every manufacturer has compatible pressing/crimping pliers with the lugs from other manufacturers. However, most products are compatible with Klauke tools, whose pliers leave a stamped mark when pressed to verify that the lugs have been pressed with a correctly adjusted tool. This is not a normative obligation, but a quick visual check of the correctness of the pressing. Such professional tools cost thousands of euros.

At Greenbuddies, we are committed to delivering quality and professional work, which is why we also have professional tools at our disposal, in this case Klauke hydraulic pliers.

Q&A Session with our Site managers

Greenbuddies pay a lot of attention to quality. One of the most important aspects is to achieve consistent management on site on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, throughout this year we have built a team of our own site managers who supervise every site of high complexity (scope, size, technology … etc.). Currently, the team consists of 5 site managers. Please read what Vít, Jakub and Miro, 3 of these playful people, answered in our short Q&A session:

Jakub Vrtiška

• What has surprised you most about working with Greenbuddies?
The most surprising thing for me was that everybody working at Greenbuddies is a great bunch of people and great cooks.

• What do you find most challenging about your job?
The most challenging thing for me is to be away from home while working on projects and finding my way back.

• Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work with Greenbuddies?
I was always fascinated with renewable energy and solar energy in particular.

Vítek Kubín

• If you could change one thing about the Solar Industry, what would it be?
I would like to see an improvement in the effectivity of solar panels.

• What’s your personal philosophy on what should be done about Renewables/Solar industry?
In general I think that we should focus on roof installations and their improvement. Because everything that has a roof usually needs electricity as well and we can provide clean energy exactly where it is needed and on an otherwise unused space.

• What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
When I was 4 years old, I was held in the arms of Michael Jackson while he finished his concert in Prague in 1996 and together we said good-bye to the crowd at the end.

Miroslav Horňák

• What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?
Before working at Greenbuddies, I have worked in the nuclear energy industry.

• What would you tell someone who is thinking about building a PV plant?
I would suggest building it quickly before the sun disappears.

• What do you think will change about the PV world over the next five years?
I hope that all mall parking lots will be covered by PV canopies producing solar energy, that will be stored in batteries.

• How would (someone) describe you?
As a Bear from the Slovakian Tatra Mountains.

Greenbuddies Christmas greeting card

Greenbuddies Tips – November 2021 26.11.2021

Source: Unsplash

Team building trip in Bari and surroundings

Despite the harsh year due to the pandemic, thanks to a consistent and constant commitment we succeed in delivering new projects and also providing turnkey solutions to our clients. As a result, we even reported a YoY growth of 20%.

All this hard work paid off and we definitely deserved a break and a reward for these great achievements. So, our teams in Prague and Eindhoven joined a 4-day team building trip in Bari and surroundings. We can state that Italy is an indisputable jewel of Europe, so we all agreed about the location.

The first day in Bari, instead of the traditional sightseeing, we went for a bike tour along the promenade, even though it was 35 degrees Celsius. Luckily, we finished up on a beach, crowded as Italian beaches usually are in Summer, but it was definitely a chance to refresh ourselves with a chill Mediterranean breeze.

The following days, we decided to visit amazing locations nearby, such as Matera, Alberobello, Polignano a Mare, Castel del Monte and Trani. Apart from the undeniable beauty of those places, we really loved dining as well as dancing and singing in the streets, sharing our happiness and relief for the lifted Covid restrictions along with the locals.
It was just a few days of fun and relax, but we gained Gigawatts of much needed energy for the upcoming year.

Greenbuddies participation at the trade fairs Solar Solutions and Intersolar

This autumn, Greenbuddies has participated, as usual, in the leading trade fairs focused on photovoltaics, i.e. the Dutch Solar Solutions and the German Intersolar, which were cancelled last year due to the global pandemic.

At the former, we even had an impressive stand in the central line installed, where meetings with our valued customers and suppliers took place from early morning until late afternoon. Our stand was Czech through and through, as we offered refreshments with a Czech imprint, traditional spa wafers and the famous Pilsner Urquell lager.

The Intersolar trade fair, held in Munich, followed immediately afterwards. We had several meetings planned with older acquaintances and new contacts. For all the participants, who remembered the events from past years, it was evident that they were above all glad that the trade fair is taking place at all and that meeting their business partners face to face is finally a possibility.

Looking back, we can evaluate our attendance at the trade fairs as successful, as we not only took away new contacts, but also strengthened existing relationships and gained new knowledge. The renewable energy industry is moving forward in leaps and bounds and cutting-edge technology is often already part of the mainstream at the following year’s event. We firmly believe that the pandemic situation will only get better and we look forward to the next editions.

Greenbuddies Charging services for Tritium with IONITY chargers 

Thanks to many years of expertise, the Greenbuddies Charging team supports our customers through all the stages of their energy storage projects: consulting, feasibility studies, delivery, installation, commissioning and maintenance. We have many strong partnerships with key players in the rapidly evolving PV and battery storage industry.

One of these partnerships is with Tritium, a company that has been designing and manufacturing proprietary hardware and software for faster and reliable DC chargers since 2001. We have also partnered with IONITY, a joint venture by BMW Group, Mercedes Benz AG, Ford Motor Company, Hyundai Motor Group and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche, founded in 2017.

Sources:

[1] https://www.hybrid.cz/shell-otevrel-v-cesku-prvni-rychlonabijeci-stanici-ionity/
[2] https://insideevs.com/news/351273/2020-ionity-40-stations-uk/

The cooperation of Greenbuddies Charging and Tritium is on many levels. Not only do we repair charging stations and provide them with a full service, but we also carry out complete replacements. The charging stations and technology are provided by Tritium, the testing phase of replacements is then carried out by Tritium and IONITY technicians in cooperation with Greenbuddies Charging on-site technicians. We have been providing full service for many charging stations in Germany and Czech Republic and last month, we expanded our operations to Poland, where the Greenbuddies Charging team has already carried out repairs on stations in two locations, Kazsewy Kóscielne and Świecko.

Greenbuddies Tips – October 2021 02.11.2021

Sources:  Shutterstock

Solar Parks on Roofs of Large Retail Chains

Solar energy undoubtedly has many economic benefits, which is one of the main reasons why it is used by companies –   an initial investment in solar modules could cover the partial or even the complete costs of electricity consumed by the establishment. Aside from economic reasons however, the use of solar plants can also support the philosophy of green-minded societies. It is obvious that the realization of an ecological ideal in in terms of the way in which society functions cannot be achieved merely through renewable energy sources. Yet it is a key ingredient of a much wider shift in our philosophy, other partial steps include reducing energy costs, recycling waste, adequate electronic equipment, etc. Investing in renewable energy sources is a large step that that can primarily be implemented by large companies. For example, retail chains such as Lidl, Tesco, Aldi, Carrefour and Kaufland have made big investments in solar energy across recent years, placed on roofs of the company’s shopping centers and warehouses. The energy produced by these solar farms brings with it many advantages [1]: 

       – It can handle peak loads.
– Minimizes energy costs (especially energy for cooling systems).
– Optimizes their own energy consumption.
– Continuation of supply during a power outage.
– Possibility to sell surplus energy to the grid (passive profit generation).
– Contributes to transition of society to green energy.
– Possibility to offer free charging stations for electric cars for customers (benefit).
– Ecological footprint can be used as brand support.

Image of the possibilities of using solar energy by large retail chains

As mentioned above, many retail chains are considering investments in solar energy in their short-term plans. For example, Tesco aims to generate 10 % of its energy consumption in the UK by2030 and has installed solar panels covering a total of 187 335 m2 across various locations as part of its large green energy project. Aldi has installed solar panels in more than 240 UK stores. Lidl in the UK has announced that all new outlets will install solar panels as part of a new carbon neutrality commitment till 2022 [2, 3, 4].

In the month of October, Greenbuddies is working on the DC aspects of a project that is located on the roof of a big retail chain building in Almere, the northern part of the Netherlands. The construction of the first phase of the project by our team will take approximately 1 month – this includes the installation of panels on approximately a quarter of the roof. The construction of a total of 1.2 MWp will be carried out on an area of approximately 8 400 m2. 2686 panels and 6 inverters will be installed.

We believe in a bright future of further cooperation with the client on the development of the remaining areas of the roof.

Sources:

[1] https://www.sma-sunny.com/en/why-supermarkets-should-switch-to-renewable-energy/
[2]https://www.solarpowerportal.co.uk/news/tesco_expands_its_solar_capacity_with_new_ppa_with_edf
[3] https://storebrands.com/lidl-invests-12m-solar-energy

Truck Ports

As the demand for electricity grows, so does the need for its production. Nowadays trends are showing us that Photovoltaics modules may be a great solution for the future, but…

There is a wide range of commercial and residential buildings where it is possible to place modules,but is it enough? Aside from roof mounted projects, much focus in the sector points towards placing photovoltaic modules on free fields, a concept that is often viewed in a controversial light. Aside from roof and ground mounted projects there exists another solution that does not require the covering of roofs or fertile soil. This solution is called a carport. This construction is most frequently made out ofwood or steel, and transforms a normal parking area into something close to a covered garage (that produces its own energy!). Where could be this solution used? Almost everywhere – Hotel parking areas, wellness parking areas, sport club parking areas and a lot more! On the rooftop of this Carport there are photovoltaic modules that produces green electricity. The carport solution to the question pertaining to where solar modules ought to be placed is a convincing one, largely as a result of its clear and functional double land usage.

Recently this trend was enriched by a Truckport solution. The construction made out of steel is strong enough to be as high as necessary to cover large trucks- which are much higher than an average car. A truckport can be made for truck cabins independent from the trailers, but can be put to use for storing unused trailers as well. Electromobility moves forward into greener futures at increasing rates, and it will not take a lot of time to see plenty of E-trucks in traffic. Current legislation in almost all EU countries is reducing the maximum hours of driving per day for each truck. This will be a perfect opportunity for Truck drivers to park under a truckport and charge their truck with electricity made „above them“ in photovoltaic modules.

Greenbuddies’ ambitious Benelux projects in collaboration with SENS – STEAG Solar Energy Solutions 

A future-oriented outlook on the sector backed up by innovative project concepts is what drives us at Greenbuddies the most. It is for this reason that we, aside from our construction branch, have begun to focus on entire development phases of projects across the EU – both in terms of large-scale solar and EV charging. A great number of preparatory steps needed to be taken before the actual startup of development, in the beginning of 2020 – at the dawn of the Covid 19 pandemic –   Greenbuddies started initial activities aimed towards developing a portfolio of PV parks in the Netherlands.

Jos Schlangen, a seasoned professional in PV, came on board to head the newly established Greenbuddies Energy BV. After discussions with several investors, we have been pleased to announce that we started our cooperation with SENS / STEAG. The reason behind this particular choice of cooperation was self explanatory – we have long known the German company (formerly known as Gildemeister) as flexible, creative, and adhering to the same values of fairness, transparency, and ethics across all business practices.  

“Now, after having several months of cooperation behind us we can say that it was really a supreme choice” says Aleš Spáčil, Chief Sales Buddy of Greenbuddies.  

Our future joint portfolio will be comprised of free-fields, rooftops, and floating solar across all three countries within the Benelux. We are eagerly anticipating the young team of developers’ ambition of completing a development portfolio spanning a minimum of 250 MW, representing a large influx of work for many of our construction crews in the periods following the actual commencement of building activities on individual projects. 

Market Footprint 3Q 2021 20.10.2021

Greetings,
 
We hope all is well!

We would like to share great news with you. We are elated to announce that alongside SENS, we set ourselves the ambitious target of reaching 250 MWp of developed projects in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg by 2025. Despite being ambitious, these targets are seen by Greenbuddies and SENS as realistic, due to the increasing demand for solar energy, particularly in the Dutch market. This demand is projected to spill over into the rest of the Benelux region in the near future – something that Greenbuddies is keen to play a key role in. 

Today, we are happy to say we completed over 500 MWp in the last 3,5 years and we are still growing day by day. Details you can see – as every quarter – in our Market footprint.

If you have any project where we can be of help to you, do not hesitate to send us an RFQ of your projects. We would be pleased to prepare an offer for you and we are looking forward to continuing our cooperation!

Best Regards,